Taking “washing” too literally
When Hitoshi’s cousin moved away for university, he made rice alone for the first time. Something was wrong so he called his mom for advice.
Cousin: “Mom, my rice doesn’t taste like yours. Something’s wrong.”
Wise Mother: “Did you wash it?”
Wise Mother: “Wash it well!”
The next day Hitoshi’s cousin made rice. He rolled up his sleeves, got out the dish soap and washed his rice really well.
(For those not in the know, washing rice is closer to a simple, fresh water rinse than a vigorous scrub. Soap is never required!)
Curiosity killed the eyebrows?
Junior high cooking class was a great time to chat with friends, tease each other and eat! Hitoshi’s class was divided into groups and each one got a gas rice cooker.
One student started up the cooker in Hitoshi’s group. Another measured the rice. Another measured the water. Once the ingredients were in the pot, there wasn’t much to do other than wait.
The dancing flame in the little window at the bottom of the cooker beckoned Hitoshi. He bent down to take an inquisitive look.
A little explosion burst out of the window and jumped towards Hitoshi. When he looked up, his classmates were pointing and laughing.
“What happened to your eyebrows?!” “You only have half an eyebrow!” “Something smells!”
Half of each eyebrow was fizzled, smelled terrible and had turned to powder.
Many years later, Hitoshi and I went with friends to a mountain cabin for a getaway. There in the kitchen was a gas rice cooker. Hitoshi did not step foot in the kitchen the entire visit.
Confusion and counting
Hitoshi worked for a major food distributor in Tokyo. Part of his job was offering samples and selling company products at trade shows.
At one show, early in the morning before it opened, everyone was in a rush to get the booth set up and the food ready. Hitoshi’s manager asked him to cook rice using the salaryman or quick cook setting. There was no time to waste!
Hitoshi got the cooker out. It was an extra-large one and he had to make eight cups of rice. He started measuring carefully and counting aloud as he poured each cup of rice into the cooker.
“1. 2. 3. Sorry? Okay. No problem.” A cup of rice was suspended in Hitoshi’s hand while he answered a question. He couldn’t remember if the cup in his hand was 3 or about to be 4. He decided 3 and kept going.
“3. 4. 5. Yup! It’s over there!” Hitoshi was interrupted again but was reasonably sure that the last cup was 6 or was it 5?
“5. 6. 7. 8. Done!” Hitoshi added water, flung the lid closed and dashed off to help with the final touches on the booth.
Beep beep beep! The rice was cooked and Hitoshi’s manager came to stir it. He reached in to taste a little.
“Hmm. It’s really hard. Hitoshi, did you measure properly?” said his manager.
“Yes! Of course!” Hitoshi threw back. Then he started to wonder, “or maybe not?”
“It’s awfully hard. But it will have to do.” Then Hitoshi’s worried manager had an idea! He grabbed a towel, soaked it in water, threw it on top of the rice, closed the lid of the cooker and waited for a few minutes.
He turned around for the final preparations, looked up and squeaked! “Aaaeeeee! “The chairman! The chairman is coming! Quick! Get a sample ready!”
At the beginning of trade shows, the chairman always visited the company booth to taste the product and chat with his staff to make sure everything was in order.
Hitoshi’s manager served the chairman curry and the rice. The chairman chewed and stopped. He chewed again and paused. He chewed a little more and opened his mouth to comment. “The curry is great! But the rice is hard.”
The manager started to splutter. “Forgive me! I’m sorry! There must be something wrong with the rice cooker! I’m so sorry! We will fix it immediately!”
Hitoshi ‘s manager worked miracles in getting the chairman to move away from the booth and Hitoshi had to make a new pot of rice.